by Chuck Ross
More than half of House Democrats say they support an inquiry into impeaching President Donald Trump, marking a milestone of sorts that could ramp up pressure against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to officially commence impeachment proceedings.
California Rep. Salud Carbajal was the majority-maker, saying Friday he believes Trump “knew the rules and he broke them” regarding the special counsel’s probe.
“That is why I believe it is time to open an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump,” he said in a statement.
Carbajal is the 118th Democrat of 235 to back impeachment.
Pelosi has resisted the impeachment push, saying she prefers a “slow, methodical approach” of gathering more evidence to support the measure.
House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler has opened an inquiry into whether Democrats should move forward with articles of impeachment. The distinction has caused confusion among political observers who say an inquiry into whether to vote for impeachment is akin to impeachment itself.
The House voted 332-95 on July 17 to table Texas Rep. Al Green’s impeachment resolution. All Republicans and 137 Democrats voted to table the measure.
It’s not clear what evidence would come forward to wrangle another 100 Democrats to support impeachment. Many in the party held off on making a decision until the end of the special counsel’s investigation, but former special counsel Robert Mueller failed to deliver the knockout blow on Trump that some Democrats hoped he would during congressional testimony July 24.
Democrats in conservative-leaning districts are also likely to shy away from impeachment talk.
Even if Democrats did somehow reach 218 votes, removing Trump from office is considered a dead letter. Two-thirds of the Senate would have to vote to convict Trump. That is unlikely considering the Senate is controlled by a 52-48 Republican majority.
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Chuck Ross is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.